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  • RCGP calls for an end to the ‘vicious cycle’ of unfair funding for GP training

    RCGP calls for an end to the ‘vicious cycle’ of unfair funding for GP training

    Tuesday, 10 July 2018 09:39
  • GMS ready reckoner published

    GMS ready reckoner published

    Wednesday, 04 July 2018 15:22
  • Scotland update Golden Hello arrangements for GPs

    Scotland update Golden Hello arrangements for GPs

    Friday, 29 June 2018 15:11
  • Extra £20m funding will go hand-in-hand with a new 10-year plan for the NHS

    Extra £20m funding will go hand-in-hand with a new 10-year plan for the NHS

    Monday, 18 June 2018 17:31

GP writing

GP Confidence Increases Slightly Despite Uncertainty Around Seven-day NHS

  • GP confidence rises but sector reform and seven-day NHS debate causing unease across the profession
  • Financial pressures expected to increase over next five years
  • GPs and pharmacists expect to work more closely together as talk of increased integration gathers pace

 

GPs’ confidence has risen slightly over the past 12 months, but uncertainty about the potential seven-day NHS is casting a shadow of pessimism over the profession, according to the latest Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking Healthcare Confidence Index.

Published today, the index canvasses primary healthcare providers; GPs, dentists and pharmacists, on their outlook for the next one to five years, to provide an insight into their opinions and levels of confidence.

A combined figure of both the short (12 months) and long-term projections (one to five years) is used to provide a measure of overall business confidence within the primary healthcare sector.


Financial pressures increase

Whilst there has been a small increase in short-term confidence up from -23 in 2014 to -20 in 2015, long-term optimism amongst surveyed GPs remains low at -76 (-80 in 2014).

GPs expect the financial pressures of running a practice to increase, with nearly nine in ten (88 per cent) anticipating a rise in costs over the next five years. Financial and recruitment pressures are leading to more mergers and only 13 per cent of GPs expect the average patient list size to remain at current levels in five years’ time.

Sector reform

The sector’s lack of longer term confidence reflects uncertainly in the reforms underway. Over the last year there has been a significant increase in the formation and membership of GP federations, and nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of those surveyed are in a federation or planning to join one. However, of the 48 per cent actually signed up, only a quarter say the federation is active.

Additionally, as the general practice landscape changes, three quarters (76 per cent) of both GPs and pharmacists expect the professions to work more closely together in the coming years. As they look for support with workloads, 42 per cent of GPs anticipate that pharmacists will be working for GP practices in the next five years.

Despite all the changes in the sector, it remains a vocation that many GPs would recommend. More than half (53 per cent) would still encourage their children or family members to join the sector, down slightly from last year’s higher figure of 59 per cent.

Ian Crompton, head of healthcare, SME Banking, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: "Despite a small increase in short-term confidence, GPs remain the most pessimistic of the professions surveyed. Given the extensive reforms they are facing, it comes as little surprise that they have reservations about the future of the sector.

“We continue to work closely with GPs are they look to expand their practices, and provide tailored funding and support to those seeking growth opportunities.”

Peter Swinyard, national chairman, Family Doctor Association and Index contributor, said: "With so many practical and organisational pressures on GPs, it is difficult to see where the improvement in confidence is going to come from.

“Going forward I would expect a shift from local GP surgeries towards larger centres with bigger patient lists, and looking ahead I can only see a significant rise in confidence occurring when measures are introduced to support general practice.”


To view the full Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking Healthcare Confidence Index please visit www.lloydsbank.com/healthcare

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